The Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University Irving Medical Center participates in first nationwide network to study rare forms of diabetes

The Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University Irving Medical Center is participating in a nationwide study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that will seek to discover the cause of several unusual forms of diabetes. For years, doctors and researchers have been stymied by cases of diabetes that differ from known types. Through research efforts at the Berrie Center and 19 other U.S. research institutions, the study aims to discover new forms of diabetes, understand what makes them different, and identify their causes. 

The Rare and Atypical Diabetes Network, or RADIANT, plans to screen about 2,000 people with unknown or atypical forms of diabetes that do not fit the common features of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. 

A person with atypical diabetes may be diagnosed and treated for type 1 or type 2 diabetes, but not have a history or signs consistent with their diagnosis. For example, they may be diagnosed and treated for type 2 diabetes but may not have any of the typical risk factors for this diagnosis, such as being overweight, having a family history of diabetes, or being diagnosed as an adult. Alternately, a person with atypical diabetes may respond differently than expected to the standard diabetes treatments. 

"We are pleased that the Berrie Center is a member of this important NIH consortium,” said Dr. Rudolph Leibel, Co-Director, Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center and a principal investigator on this trial. “RADIANT plays to the great, coordinate strengths of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center in diabetes research and sophisticated clinical care.”

RADIANT researchers will build a comprehensive resource of genetic, clinical, and descriptive data on previously unidentified forms of diabetes for the scientific and healthcare communities. 

The study’s researchers will collect detailed health information using questionnaires, physical exams, genetic sequencing, blood samples, and other tests. People found to have unknown forms of diabetes may receive additional testing. Some participant family members may also be invited to take part in the study. 

“We have existing programs designed to identify unusual, genetic forms of diabetes and to characterize their molecular etiologies using stem cell-based and rodent genetic models,” said Dr. Leibel. “We anticipate that the identification of additional "atypical" instances of diabetes will certainly result in better understanding of those specific instances, but also provide important insights into the mechanisms for more prevalent types of diabetes." 

USF is the study’s coordinating center, and the lead centers include Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and the University of Chicago. The Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Baylor serve as the genomic sequencing centers for the project. University of Florida, Gainesville, provides the study’s laboratory services. Other participating centers are: 

  • Columbia University, New York City
  • Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
  • Geisinger Health System, Danville, Pennsylvania
  • Indiana University, Indianapolis
  • Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
  • NorthShore University Health System, Chicago
  • Seattle Children’s Hospital 
  • SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, Brooklyn
  • University of Colorado, Denver
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • University of Washington, Seattle
  • Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Washington University in St. Louis

Additional investigators on this trial include Dr. Robin Goland, Co-Director, Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center and the J. Merrill Eastman Professor of Clinical Diabetes, and Dr. Wendy Chung, the Herbert Irving Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at Columbia University. 

The study opened recruitment on September 30, 2020 for people with atypical diabetes or a form of diabetes that seems different from known types of diabetes. Visit www.atypicaldiabetesnetwork.org for more information on the study and how to join. 

Support for the study is provided through NIDDK grants U54DK118638 and U54DK118612